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Donald Trump

Donald Trump is trusted less than China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Pew global opinion survey

Israel, Philippines and South Korea like Trump best

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2018, 10:11am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2018, 10:30pm

US President Donald Trump has shaken global faith in America’s leadership, an international survey found, as confidence in him lags behind other major world leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.

The Pew Research Centre found 70 per cent of people surveyed across 25 countries this year said they lacked confidence in Trump, compared with 27 per cent who said they trusted the American president’s handling of international affairs.

The poll of more than 26,000 people found that opinions of Trump continued to fall among some of America’s closest allies and neighbours, with only 9 per cent of French citizens and 6 per cent of Mexicans expressing favourable views of him.

Still, respondents in almost every country said it would be better for the US to remain as the top global power, rather than China, which is seen as a rising power.



That included large majorities among China’s neighbours such as Japan (81 per cent) and the Philippines (77 per cent). The only places where pluralities favoured Chinese leadership were Tunisia (64 per cent), Argentina (35 per cent) and Russia (35 per cent).

Overall, about 50 per cent surveyed continued to hold favourable views of the US.

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The results provide the latest illustration of global unease over Trump’s “America First” agenda, in which he has imposed tariffs, dismissed the value of multilateral institutions and withdrawn from international agreements.

Trump vowed to “reject the ideology of globalism” last week in a speech to the United Nations, where some attendees appeared to laugh at his claims to have accomplished more than almost any US administration.

“Large majorities say the US doesn’t take into account the interests of countries like theirs when making foreign policy decisions,” the Pew report said.

“And there are signs that American soft power is waning as well, including the fact that, while the US maintains its reputation for respecting individual liberty, fewer believe this than a decade ago.”

Roughly 70 per cent of respondents said the US pays little or no attention to the needs of other nations, compared with 28 per cent who said Washington takes their interests into account, Pew found.

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For a ratings-obsessed US president, global assessments of how he stacks up to his peers might sting.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose relations with Trump have been cool at best, scored the highest overall approval, with more than half of survey respondents rating her positively.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been better than Merkel at staying on Trump’s good side but was critical of the US president’s policies at last week’s UN General Assembly, scored a bit below her, with 46 per cent approval.

Xi and Putin also edged out Trump, but not by nearly as much, approved of by 34 per cent and 32 per cent respectively, to Trump’s 27 per cent.

The survey found anxiety about US ties among friends and foes alike.

Some 80 per cent of Germans said that relations between the allies had deteriorated over the past year and only 10 per cent of the country’s residents reported favourable views of Trump.

Views of both the US and its president fell in Russia, where Trump’s approval plunged to 19 per cent from 53 per cent amid disputes over Syria, economic sanctions and allegations of election-meddling.

One notable exception was Israel. Support for Trump jumped 13 points to 69 per cent there as the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a decision that angered Palestinians.

Trump was also well-received in South Korea, where confidence in Trump increased to 44 per cent from 17 per cent as he set aside threats of war and opened nuclear talks with North Korea.

The survey was based on telephone and face-to-face interviews and is generally based on national samples, with the margin of error for each country available on the non-profit research organisation’s website.

Additional reporting by Tribune News Service